Manchester United will bid adieu to two iconic figures--Sir Alex Ferguson and Paul Scholes

Manchester United will emotionally bid adieu to two iconic figures at Old Trafford on Sunday--veteran midfielder Paul Scholes and Sir Alex Ferguson. They will bow out at the Theatre of Dreams after a magnificent playing career.

The 38-year-old has not been featured for the newly crowned champions since January, when he was excluded due to injury. He is now put to make a final home appearance against Swansea. Scholes will be retiring for the 2nd time. Initially, Scholes retired at the end of the 2011 campaign, after Manchester United had won their 19th league title. He returned again to action in January 2012 after realizing that he had quit too early.

Scholes has yet to declare officially his return to retirement but it is believed that he will not play in the next season after 716 games and 155 goals. Instead he will opt for a coaching role under new manager David Moyes.

Manchester United is supposed to play their last match of the season on 19th May and that will also mark the conclusion of an era at Manchester United with both Ferguson and Scholes deciding to entitle it as a time.

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MS Dhoni new advertisement after CT 2013

mindblowing imagination about MS Dhoni new advertisement after indians win over england in champions trophy 2013

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Guess the master of Switch Hitting

Guess the cricketer. Hint :- He is master of Switch Hitting

1 ) Andrew Strauss

2 ) Shahid Afridi

3 ) Matthew Hayden

4 ) Kevin Pietersen

 

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India lost to South Korea in the Asia Cup & failed to make a direct entry in hockey World Cup

Reportedly, India did their best in the 2nd half but failed to make a direct entry in next year's hockey World Cup as they lost the high-scoring summit clash by 4-3 to defending champions South Korea in Asia Cup hockey final, at Ipoh in Malaysia on Sunday.

The Indian hockey team, who were virtually assured of a place in the game's attractive event scheduled to be held at The Hague in Netherlands, required winning the eight-nation tournament to make a direct entry in the World Cup.

On the other side, Korea's fourth title victory implies Malaysia is sure to return to the World Cup after a time gap of 12 years.

Meanwhile, the Indians will have to wait till the conclusion of the Oceania Cup in November, which either Australia or New Zealand is anticipated to win, for the official confirmation of their participation from the FIH. In fact, both Australia and New Zealand have already made it to the World Cup through FIH World League. 

Actually, the Koreans scored through Jang Jong Hyun in the 28th minute, You Hyo Sik in the 29th, Nam Hyun Woo in the 57th while Kang Moon Kweon in the 68th. On the other hand, India scored through Rupinderpal Singh in the 48th minute, Nikkin Thimmaiah in the 57th while Mandeep Singh in the 64th. Apparently, it was a case of near yet so far for the Indians who did a marvelous job in the second half, after entering the breather trailing by two goals. However, the Indians in the end fell short as Korea edged out a hard-fought win and got their revenge over the Sardar Singh-led team too against whom they lost by 2-0 in the group stages.

At the end, it was a grand show by a young and inexperienced Indian team keeping in mind that the country finished a lowly seventh in the last edition of the event in 2009. In fact, it was a head-on contest between the apex two teams of Asia as both India and Korea matched each other cut to cut.

Remarkably, the Indians commenced the match on a bright note and ruled the early share of exchanges. In addition, India made some good moves from the right flank but the forwards fizzled following entering the rival circle.

It cannot be ignored that Korea's game was all about pushing the Indian defense under pressure through counter-attacks. The Indian defense was put to test to the core by the brisk, nimble-footed Korean team from the beginning as goalkeeper PR Sreejesh made a brave double save in the 21st minute to restore a clean slate. Shortly, India had their first scoring chance through their first penalty corner but VR Raghunath's shot was blocked by a Korean defender. Nithin Thimmaiah had an excellent chance of giving India the lead in the 26th minute but his reverse strike from close range went wide. Further, Korea earned their first penalty corner as tournament's top-scorer Jang Jong Hyun unmistakably, converted the set piece with a variation.

After a minute, Korea shocked India again when You Hyo Sik tapped home from Nam Hyun Woo's cross from the left flank to earn a 2-0 lead. The Indians returned following the lemon break and placed the Korean defense under continuous stress with repeated attacks. However, goals evaded India up to the 47th minute as Korea defended in numbers. Moreover, India pulled one back in the 48th minute from their 2nd penalty corner which was ideally converted by Rupinder to make the Indian crowd happy who were present at the stadium. Anyway, the goal lifted India's spirit as they continued with persistent attacks and ultimately managed to reduce parity through Nikkin Thimmaiah. He scored in the 57h minute with a violent reverse hit from top of the circle following receiving a pass from Manpreet Singh. However, Korea regained their lead three minutes later. Then the Koreans were awarded with a penalty stroke after an Indian defender barred Nam Hyun Woo's dragflick with the body from their third short corner. Next, Nam Hyn Woo advanced to take the penalty and calmly foxed Sreejesh under the Indian goal to make the scoreline as 3-2 in their favor. Thereafter, the Indian pressed hard for the equalizer and after seven minutes got a great opportunity but an unmarked Ramandeep Singh paused as he struck the ball over the Korean goalkeeper Lee Myung Ho to beat.

Young striker Mandeep found himself at the correct position in the 64th minute to send the ball inside the net from a Birendra Lakra cross. After two minutes from the hooter, some careless defending from Dharamvir Singh and Rupinder ended up in Korea's third penalty corner while Kang Moon Kweon unmistakably got the chance to shatter the hopes of handful of Indian supporters present at the stadium. Besides the runners-up trophy, India's PR Sreejesh was adjudged to be the best goalkeeper of the tournament, while V R Raghunath was chosen as the most stupendous player.

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Cheteshwar Pujara becoming new synonym for Talent

Cheteshwar Pujara scored 153 against No. 1 Test side, South Africa in very tough batting condition, He keeps on proving why he is ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year 2013.

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Hail, Danish Mujtaba! the new captain of Indian Hockey Team

Experienced forward Danish Mujtaba was appointed the new skipper of the Indian hockey team on Wednesday for the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Invitational Tournament even as seasoned drag-flicker Sandeep Singh was confined to the stand-byes list for the March 6-17 event in Malaysia.

Several changes have occurred in the side after the debacle of 2012 London Olympics. The poor show has resulted in some fine show at the top of the order in recent times. Coach Michael Nobbs. Meanwhile, the relegation of Singh has evoked mixed reactions from all quarters with some in favor and others against the decision.

Hockey India selector Syed Ali, chief coach Michael Nobbs and exercise physiologist Jason Konrath apart from government observer Harbinder Singh zeroed upon the list of 18 probable players and eight stand-bys by taking their recent performance into consideration in the ongoing Hero Hockey India League.

The expulsion of Singh is something unusual to explain. He is undoubtedly one of India’s best 18 players and before the 2012 Olympic Games, India coach Michael Nobbs said Sardara Singh and Sandeep were essential for India’s winning chances.

“Sardara at this point in time probably is one of the two or three best players in the world,” Nobbs said at the time. “If he plays well we will do well. On the other hand, if Sandeep scores a bagful of Penalty Corner goals that will also be the key (to our success).”

Sandeep, who is the top goal-scorer during the HIL, had been included as a stand-by in the squad for the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 to be organized in New Delhi here from February 18-24.

At the Azlan Shah, goalie PR Sreejesh will be the vice-captain of the squad which has eight forwards, five mid-fielders and three defenders.

Sushant Tirkey is the other goalkeeper who has been finalized for the final squad along with PR Sreejesh, who is the vice-Captain. Currently, the Indian hockey team is full of talent with the full-back appearing to be more robust than ever adorned with the likes of Rupinderpal Singh, Harbir Singh and Gurjinder Singh.

There have been contrasting reactions coming from Nobbs about Sandeep over the last couple of months. In December, he stressed upon the norm of the 2016 Olympics in Rio, beckoning that few players might be too old by then.

“The question we have to ask is that by picking a player now will he be available for Rio?” Nobbs said. “Will he be good enough in four years time or will he be old? Keeping that in mind, the selectors decided to build a team for the future.”

There appears to be huge potential for all the players who have been inducted into the squad currently. It now needs to be seen how crucial they will be in ensuring a fine performance at the Rio games. There are those experienced players as well who are known to ensure the finest display of game as per the requirement. Coach Nobbs has surely got a task cut out in order to lead the team to victory.

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Open National Athletics Championships: Dutee Chand won gold medal in 200m race

It has been reported that ONGC’s Dutee Chand has completed a sprint double, to win the 200M gold. On the other side, Indian Railways managed to retain the overall team championships on the final day of the 53rd Open National Athletics Championships at Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium in Ranchi on Monday.

Remarkably, the Odisha girl Dutee, who is a bronze medalist at the Asian Championships in Pune, took just 24.02 seconds to finish 300th of second ahead of Chavi Sharawat of Railways in the final on a rain-affected day.

Notably, triple jump national record-holder Renjith Maheswary missed out the gold medal as Arpinder Singh sneaked past by 6 centimetres. In fact, Renjith leapt forward to 16.64 metres to clinch the silver.

Meanwhile, distance runner Suriya Loganathan was another athlete who won a double. Suriya, who is the winner of the 5000M on the opening day, won the 10000M on the final day. Subsequently, M R Poovamma won the women’s 400M in 53.96 seconds on Monday, breezing past Tintu Luka of Railways in a close finish. Tintu clocked just 53.98. Ashwini Akkunji of Karnataka, who made her competitive return, stood fifth in 55.22 seconds just behind Anu Mariam Jose, who finished at 54.59 seconds.

Remarkably, Railways finished with a score of 282 points to win the overall title ahead of Services with 163 points. Services won the men’s title while Railways clinched 180 points and emerged women’s champions.

On the other hand Durgesh Kumar Pal, who is the winner of the men’s 400M hurdles, was proclaimed the best athlete in the men’s title. In contrast, the credit in the women’s section went to Merlin Joseph, who boasts of a national record of 11.35 in the 100M semifinals has attracted interrogation from several quarters.

In the men's segment, Army man Kheta Ram, who hardly missed a podium-finish at the Asian championships, wrested the men's title with a time limit of 29:47.92s.

Particularly, former Asian Junior champion Suresh Kumar Patel of ONGC pushed the Services runner from the beginning of the race and claimed a silver in a plausible 29:48.10s in the 10000m event.

Further, Services' athletes made a clean sweep of medals in 400m. In this category Kunhu Mohammed captured the top spot within 46.51s.

In another event, Chandrodaya Narayan Singh of Uttar Pradesh recaptured the gold in hammer throw after a gap of two years while Parmila of Railways hauled silver in the absence of apex names in the women's discus throw. However, Services team managed to improve their own meet record in men's 4x400m relay.

In a bizarre incident, the tournament concluded in absolute chaos with the closing ceremony, which was attended by state sports minister. The ceremony was held in complete darkness for the whole period following a power blackout.

Unfortunately, the power went off as soon as the closing ceremony commenced at 6pm and the whole Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium descended into complete darkness. Moreover, there was no alternative arrangement made for such an incident by the organizers and the ceremony, which continued for more than an hour, ultimately ended in darkness.

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Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup: India under-23 banged UAE by 46 runs

India under-23 banged the UAE national team by 46 runs in a semifinal match on Friday to crash into the final of the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup in Singapore. Subsequently, India will encounter Pakistan under-23 in the summit clash, who thrashed Sri Lanka U-23 in the second semis.

In fact, UAE were all out for 162 in 48.3 overs. The 19-year-old Gujarat left-arm spinner Akshar Patel took 4 for 29 while chasing 209 for a win at the Kallang Ground. Remarkably, Shaiman Anwar (44) and Swapnil Patel (41) pushed the Indian bowlers at bay with an 89-run second-wicket stand. But that was not adequate. Besides Patel, the 20-year-old Punjab pacer Sandeep Sharma (2 for 31) and Baba Aparajith (2 for 25) did fantastic job with the ball.

Previously, the 22-year-old Gujarat and Delhi Daredevils batsman Manprit Juneja hit 76 and opener Lokesh Rahul struck 43 as India under-23 were all out for 208 in 49.5 overs. To be precise, the Karachi-born off-break bowler Nasir Aziz was the devastator for UAE with 5 for 51 in 9.5 overs.

Notably, Pakistan scored a mind-blowing one-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the second semi-final played at The Padang. Moreover, all-rounder Hammad Azam scored an undisputed 66 and spinner Usman Qadir, who is the son of former leg-spinning great Abdul Qadir, picked 5 for 31 for the Pakistan under-23s. While pursuing Sri Lanka's 230/7, the Pakistanis hit the target with seven balls extra.

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Faf du Plessis says his epic knock against Australia is sweet

Faf du Plessis overcome dehydration issues and body cramps when he scored a match-deciding ton on Monday, but maintained that he is sort of relieved to know that the pain and exhaustion he was made resulted in South Africa for a draw in the second Test against Australia all the more pretty.

Australia captain Michael Clarke played his cards well by introducing bowling changes with the likes of Nathan Lyon and Peter Siddle but the results were worth not as much as he would have expected. Plessis has put on a brave front to ensure that his team does not lose.

The Chennai Super Kings player scored an emphatic 78 in the first innings to ensure his team avoid the follow-on and followed with an unbeaten 110 in the second as he drove South Africa to safety with just two wickets in hand in a dream debut at Adelaide Oval.

“I think it just makes it a little bit more sweet,” the 28-year-old all-rounder told reporters of his fatigue, having spent at the crease throughout the entire day under scorching heat. Moreover, he got enough support from his fellow South African batsmen as well.

“The story wouldn't have been that nice if my body was all feeling fine. One day when I look back, I can look back and say I pushed through the physical side of things.

“It just shows how far you can go if you're mentally strong enough.”

After being named ‘Man of the Match’ for his scintillating, it was actually a monumental knock by Du Plessis who walked towards the crease with the Proteas staring defeat at 45-4 just after tea on day four and with seemingly little hope of salvation.

Catching up the momentum with eventful partnerships of 89 runs with schoolmate AB de Villiers and 99 runs with injured all-rounder Jacques ‘The King’ Kallis, Du Plessis found himself thrust into the role of saviour as his partners crumbled around him late in the day.

The South African displayed a tremendous character that used to be shown by former players like Gary Kirsten and Daryl Cullinan. Going by the way how the innings of Plessis went through, skipper Graeme Smith must be a relieved man. A day on which rank players like Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers failed to bat through, Du Plessis has surprised one and all with a matured knock that will be remembered for a long while.

In the process, Du Plessis survived two LBW decisions as well given in his favor by umpire Billy Bowden in quick succession when he was in the 30s, with both over-ruled after video review. He edged a catch to Matthew Wade off the bowling of pace bowler Ben Hilfenhaus but the wicket-keeper messed up with the chance to grant Du Plessis another reprieve on 94.

As soon as he moved to 98 post tea, Du Plessis was stuck there for about half an hour as Australia's bowlers exerted even more pressure. Eventually, he has seen through all the obstacles to manage a draw from a no-win situation.

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Confederations Cup: Group B match between Uruguay and Tahiti

Confederations Cup: Group B match between Uruguay and Tahiti at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife June 23, 2013

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Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award has not been announced due to the spot-fixing scam

In a series of events, Indian cricket team has gone to West Indies to play the Tri Nation series after clinching the Champions Trophy.

Despite of becoming champions, the demons of IPL spot-fixing are still hovering over the BCCI and its players. Unfortunately, the spot-fixing scam is now hitting the clean players of the game too.

Amazingly, this year BCCI hasn't forwarded any suitable name for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award--the highest honor for active sportspersons in the country, since the cricket board didn't spot any appropriate cricketer for the award.

In fact, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (RGKR) is India’s highest honor given for achievement in sports. Literally, the words "Khel Ratna" means "sports gem" in Hindi. Actually, the award is named after the former Prime Minister of India, late Rajiv Gandhi. It consists of a medal, a scroll of honor and a significant cash component. The cash component was Rs. 500,000 till 2004-2005. Later, the money has been augmented from Rs. 500,000 to Rs.750,000.

History says that Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar won this prestigious award for the year 1997-1998. Further Mahendra Singh Dhoni, captain of the Indian cricket team won this award for the year 2007-2008.

Recently, the BCCI has recommended explosive batsman Virat Kohli's name for the Arjuna Award while legendary opener and former India captain Sunil Gavaskar's name has been recommended for the Dhyan Chand Award for lifetime achievement. 

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Shane Warne will be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame during the 2nd Ashes Test

ICC proclaimed on Thursday that former Australia spinner Shane Warne will be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame on 19th July during the tea interval of the 2nd Ashes Test between England and Australia at Lord's.

Warne is supposed to be the 69th male member of the Hall of Fame and joins fellow 2012-13 inductees Brian Lara of the West Indies. England’s Enid Bakewell and former Australia team-mate Glenn McGrath is being recognized by the ICC and marked as the living members of the Hall of Fame.

It can be recollected that Lara and Bakewell were inducted last year at the ICC Awards at Colombo in September while McGrath during the Sydney Test between Australia and Sri Lanka in January 2013.

Warne’s record reveals that he represented Australia in 145 Tests between 1992 and 2007. He claimed 708 Test wickets on an average of 25.41. Remarkably, he was the first cricketer to attain 700 Test scalps. In addition, he played in 194 ODIs, claiming 293 wickets on an average of 25.73. Notably, he was part of the Australian squad that won the World Cup in 1999 at Lord's against Pakistan along with fellow Hall of Famers Steve Waugh and Glenn McGrath. His performance at the match witnessed him named as Player of the Final after he ended the game with match figures of 9-1-33-4.

Warne remarked that he is very honored and proud to be announced as an inductee into the ICC Hall of Fame later this month. He would like to thank the voting academy very much for considering him. He is looking forward to celebrate his induction with his friends and family before the crowd at Lord's during the 2nd Ashes Test.

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Lets Play Horsie

Screw the game, lets play horsie :)

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Abhinav Bindra demanded clean IOA in order to nullify India’s Olympic ban

It has emerged that India's elite athletes have increased the pressure on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and demanded the dismissal of all tainted officials in order to nullify the country’s Olympic ban.

To the knowledge of everyone, the IOA was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last year for electing Lalit Bhanot as its secretary general during its controversial December poll. This is the person who has served 11 months in jail on alleged corruption cases.

Remarkably, the IOC offered the country a lifeline, requesting the suspended IOA to amend its constitution and among other things, prohibit any person charged for corruption from holding office during vital meetings in Lausanne in May. However, the IOA declined such a blanket ban in a meeting this month. Instead, proposed an ethics committee to look into the case of any official who has been convicted for less than 2 years in jail. 

Meanwhile Abhinav Bindra, who won India’s sole individual Olympic gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, asserted that the administrators have failed the country which still remains an Olympic laggard despite its 1.2 billion population. He agreed that the IOA has failed the country to a certain extent. He emphasized that a lot needs to be done for Indian sport and with their potential. We are nowhere near where we can be. He stressed that they are still stuck with fighting on clauses that are utterly non-negotiable... something which is related to ethics. 

Bindra elaborated that the ethical standards are laid down under the Olympic Charter and to challenge that is not good. Moreover, it does not go well for the Olympic movement. In fact, Bindra has been joined by Sushil Kumar, who won a bronze in Beijing and silver in London Olympics for wrestling along with multiple grand slam doubles winning tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi in demanding a corruption-free IOA.

In addition, Indian government has also backed the IOC’s efforts in prohibiting tainted officials from contesting the national Olympic body’s elections.

Bindra admitted that there has been good response to the petition, which will be conveyed shortly to IOC president Jacques Rogge, imploring the world governing body to maintain the "highest moral standards" of the Olympic Movement in the nation.

Bindra, who is one of the few Indian athletes to consistently interrogate India’s sports administrators, claimed that they are at a stage where they can either get reforms in place or return to the status-quo. He mentioned that this petition was started because of all that has happened in the last few weeks. They demand a clean and effective Olympic body where it can assist them and Indian sports to develop and they, the athletes can represent the country and the flag once again. Specifically, the issue is anticipated to be discussed when the IOC meets in Buenos Aires this week to elect a successor to Rogge and select the venue for the 2020 Games.

Particularly, an Olympic ban implies an effective end to funding from the IOC to the national body. As a result, no officials from that association can take part in meetings and certainly, athletes of a banned nation cannot compete under their country’s flag. Bindra commented that it has been frustrating.

He cited the example that in the recent Asian youth games, our athletes participated as independent athletes under the banner of the Olympic Council of Asia, which is disheartening and frustrating. He remarked that they should follow the Olympic charter as well as the guidelines in the same way just as the whole world is following it. They have been suspended for a year and they should get back more reformed.

He highlighted that the most essential thing is that they need to have guidelines along with a structure so that what has happened doesn’t repeat itself. In case one has guidelines set in the constitution, they should never get into a similar situation in future.

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Indian Hockey Team enter semifinals of Champions Trophy, coach Michael Nobbs happy

"It was a wonderful day for Indian hockey! I am really proud." India's men's hockey coach, Michael Nobbs, reacted after a successful performance from the Indians after the London Olympics 2012 debacle. The positive reaction has come on Thursday in the wake of India's phenomenal victory over Belgium, which put catapulted them to the semi-finals. This has resulted in the Indians being just a single win away from Champions Trophy medal after a gap of 30 years. The performance of Indian hockey team has declined in the past few years with just one or two trophies to their credit.

Champions Trophy has evaded India for sure after its last attempt ended in a bronze, which was way back in 1982. However, if India wins another one in Australia,  then it will prove to be even more valuable to it because of the fact that the ignominious last-place finish at the London Olympics just three months back. To top it all in the gap of just 100-odd days will be something that will be no less than a remarkable feat. A team that was feared by any opposition few decades back has plunged to an all-time low few years back. The current performance indicates some salvation under the direction of coach Nobbs.

Nobbs was, more specifically, elated with the way India's defence held up throughout the game, especially vice-captain and full-back VR Raghunath has lived up to the expectations and has come good for the team when it mattered the most.

"It was a wonderful performance, especially by the defence. Raghu was great. I think that ranks as one of his best performances for India," a satisfied India coach said. Considering the fact that the team was in the fray with strong teams like Germany, the performance was still good as it matched on par with other teams such as New Zealand and Australia.

But the slender 1-0 victory over Belgium was not without near sudden deaths, with the Belgians striving hard for the equaliser in the final 15 minutes of the game, precisely when India had both Gurvinder Singh Chandi and skipper Sardar Singh sent off. Nobbs was obviously miffed with that.

"The last 15 minutes were excruciatingly difficult for me, especially when Chandi decided to get himself sent off and Sardar got sent off because [goalkeeper] PT Rao started to attack the umpire, so Sardar got a team foul. How many other ways could we find to lose a game," Nobbs detailed, signaling that seasoned players like Chandi need to be more cautious and youngsters like PT Rao need to get into the act as well.

"Anyway a great day," Nobbs said with a sigh of reprieve.

But facing Australia in the semis will be India's biggest task yet in the entire tournament. The young Indian side will have to display its best skills and India's defence at the back will have to provide a thick edge to it.

Pakistan will be pitted against Netherlands in the other semi-final, which indicates that we might witness Indo-Pak final if both the Asian majors win over the favourites.

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Adam Gilchrist, only batsman to hit 100 sixes in test cricket

Adam Gilchrist, one of best hard hitting batsman Cricket has ever produced and the only batsman to hit 100 sixes in test cricket

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Carl Hooper - One of the greatest Player

Carl Hooper was the first ever cricketer to score 5,000 runs, take 100 wickets, held 100 catches and receive 100 caps in both ODIs and Tests.

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Johnson likely to be out of T20 World Cup 2014

Johnson, 32, is expected to miss the Twenty20 World Cup tournament in Bangladesh starting later this month with a severely infected big toe on his right foot.

However Cricket Australia are still hopeful the left-arm quick will make the trip, albeit later than first expected.

He was due to leave his home town Perth on Sunday to join up with the Australian World Cup squad in Bangladesh ahead of the month-long tournament.

“Mitch has been home in Perth recovering from the Test series against South Africa but has developed an infection as a result of a cut he had on his right big toe after the 3rd Test,” Cricket Australia chief medical officer Justin Paolini said.

“He is receiving treatment but his departure to Bangladesh for the ICC World T20 may be delayed until we are happy that the infection has resolved and his toe fully recovered.”

Johnson is on a heavy course of antibiotics and is understood to have been advised that he could be out of action for at least a month.

He is desperate to recover in time for the lucrative Indian Premier League starting in mid-April where Johnson is a $1 million player with the strong King’s Punjab franchise.

His injury flared from nasty blisters on his feet and especially his right big toe which is Johnson’s front-landing foot in his explosive delivery stride in one of world cricket’s most feared bowling actions.

The infection has also spread into his right foot, which suffered hefty pounding through five consecutive Tests at home over summer as the big left-armer smashed through England in a historic Ashes whitewash with 37 wickets at a miserly average of only 13.9.

He carried his wicket-taking venom to South Africa where Johnson snatched another 22 wickets in the three-Test series.

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Ranji Trophy: Harbhajan Singh hauled 6-wickets to oust Odisha for 205 in their first innings

Skipper Harbhajan Singh of Punjab, who is keen to return to the national team, marked his presence with a sensational 6-wicket haul to oust Odisha for 205 in their first innings of a Group A Ranji Trophy match on the opening day at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium on Sunday.

 

Remarkably, Harbhajan produced a magnificent display of spin bowling to score 28.2-12-54-6. The 33-year-old led from the front and proved once again that he is still aggressive as he took the wickets of Girjia Rout (scored 38), Govind Podder (scored 42), Biplab Samantray (scored 30), Halhadar Das (scored 0), Alok Mangaraj (scored 4) and Dhiraj Singh (scored 0).

 

No doubt, Harbhajan Singh's 6-wicket haul will definitely place him in a good position, when the selectors meet to pick the team for the two-match Test series against the West Indies, which is supposed to be played next month.

Notably, Jiwanjot Singh (scored 6) as well as R Inder Singh (scored 5) were spotted at the crease as Punjab reached 11 for no loss at the draw of stumps. Previously, Harbhajan decided to field first with his exploits. Then, he was supported by pacers Sandeep Sharma (2/49) and Siddarth Kaul (1/38).

In fact, Kaul hit first when he sent opener Natraj Behera to the pavilion in the 15th over to bring down Odisha to 47 for one. Subsequently, Sandeep added up more agony on the visitors, when he ran out N Behera in the 31st over with the scoreboard showing 66 for two.

Further, Harbhajan spelled his magic as he ousted the opener Rout, before the India spinner struck in the 58th over by dismissing Samantray, who was caught behind by Uday Kaul.

Anyway, he continued to make the game difficult for the visitors, who looked down the barrel when Podder too was sent to the pavilion by Harbhajan in the 70th over.

On the other side, Abhilash Mallick attempted to held on to one side with a hard-fought 110-ball 32. However, Odisha was unable to stop on the slide and was ultimately made to depart in 83.2 overs.

The brief score says that:

Odisha scored 205 all out in 83.2 overs in the 1st innings (GB Podder 42; Harbhajan Singh 6/54).

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